The Parasite Colossus

If I wasn’t so swamped this week by deadlines and hosting birthday parties, I’d be rambling on and on about a great new study that suggests parasites make up a huge chunk of ecosystems, simply by sheer weight. I’ll have more to say in the not too distant future, but in the meantime, check out this post at Not Exactly Rocket Science or listen to a good segment on National Public Radio that also includes some important caveats from outside researchers. If you want some back story, you can read this piece I published about the ecological impacts of parasites in Discover some years ago, adapted from my ode to the monsters within, Parasite Rex.

0 thoughts on “The Parasite Colossus

  1. Measuring the relative biomass is the most obvious and simple way to look at this, but you have me wondering if this is the correct way. The relative genetic diversity of parasitic species compared to their prey might be another metric, though species count is also problematic (I read your article on that too).

  2. Hey Carl do you give speeches and talks about the Environment at schools/ colleges? It would be nice to have you and others at Discover out here to enlighten the community of youth. Whom would I talk to to arrange sometrhing like this? I am meeting with the DVC campus President soon to discuss more enlightening changes we the students would like to see. Currently we are working on creating a multicultural community center that may be one of the first in the nation to appear at a JC.

  3. Carl,

    Two Questions:
    1. Is it not true that “parasite” is like the definition of “weed” in my garden, in the eye of the farmer? As I age, I change and reduce the list of “weeds” to accommodate my capacities. Parasite seems a fluid and relative category.
    2. What is the weight of parasites in the human body? Assuming a definition of “parasite”, are we not mostly parasites, even if not rendered reproductively unfit?

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